Living in a Tourist Town

We are always on the move. After doing some research, I found that it is estimated that Americans will move about 10-11 times during their lifetime. Although I have not moved around much and have plenty of time to do so, I spoke with others who have. My parents have experienced living in many different kinds of places, from a small town in Pennsylvania, to huge well-known cities. Some of the places where they have lived for an extended period of time were tourist destinations such as New York City and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The cool thing about living in a tourist town is that you get to experience life as a local. When I went to school in Gettysburg, students divided everyone into three groups: college students, tourists, and “townies.” It didn’t take much time to figure out who was who when living there. Being there for a long time, students could see what Gettysburg had to offer, not just as a tourist destination but also locally. Had I only been a tourist in Gettysburg, I would have not known that there was a Hispanic community there that I could get involved with. I got to experience going to mass in Spanish, volunteer at a bilingual school, and go to a yearly event called “Salsa on the Square.”

However, life and work creeps up on us, consuming our time so much that we sometimes forget to do the touristy activities before it’s time to pack up and move again. One piece of advice my parents have given me, as well as others, was to do everything while you can. In the case of when I studied in Madrid, I knew my time was limited to three months, so I knew how much time I had to visit every museum and sight I wanted to go to. Most of the time, when people move, they don’t know how long they will be staying in a given place. It can vary depending on the type of job and of course, life being unpredictable.

I never did get to go on any ghost tours when I was in Gettysburg, but I did get to see the battlefields and had two very knowledgeable friends give me a tour. I got to know which ice cream places were popular with locals and which ones were tourist traps. I got to know some of the locals through frequenting restaurants in different places where I have studied. I had four years to see and do everything that I wanted to, so I could spread things out. However, I wish that I would have done and discovered some things earlier, because I would have done them more often, such as riding around the battlefield in a scoot coupe with my roommates.

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If you are thinking about or already living in a tourist town, take advantage of the things to do. Maybe you already have, and that’s great! Maybe you haven’t yet because you don’t want to be associated with tourists or you just haven’t found the time yet. Take advantage before it’s too late! Explore, discover, and share with others! You never know what you may find.

Using Fanfiction for Language-learning

I have always loved writing. I did some form of creative writing every day, having filled over six diaries since 3rd grade. One thing that kept me motivated when writing a story was writing about characters that already existed, whether it was my neopets or characters from a favorite cartoon of mine. Throughout late elementary school and middle school, I would write fanfictions; some I would even post online. One thing I loved as much as writing fanfictions was getting to read other authors’ works. Not only was it entertaining but it was also motivating and helped inspire even more creativity. If you are looking to better your reading language comprehension or just expand your vocabulary without too much effort, consider looking up fanfictions in your target language!

When it comes to studying a language, especially if you are making the effort to do it outside of school or on your own, you are going to want to make studying as fun as possible so that you stay motivated. You are probably going to want to save as much money as possible as well. One thing I recommend to those who are learning languages is reading books that YOU are interested in. If you are not interested in Don Quixote, then why read it? If you would get more out of reading The Hunger Games in Spanish, then do that instead. However, ordering books in other languages can get pricy. If you are looking for a free alternative, try fanfiction! There are stories written about many different shows, video games, book series, movies and more! You can also search by genre! If you are into horror stories, there are stories for that! If you prefer romance, you can find it! You can read stories that interest you and learn new words in the process! You are more likely to find stories in your target language if you are studying a widely-spoken language. They can be hit or miss but I am sure you can find something online! Why not try it out?